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Merry Christmas, not Crazy Christmas (and a Blurb photobook offer!)

A couple of weeks ago I was in the kitchen, chatting with my husband about all the things that were coming up on the calendar. “I want to get all the shopping done before December,” I said, “because in a few weeks it’ll be all crazy Christmas with all the parties and things to do and I won’t have time to do the shopping.” He looked at me and said, “It’s Merry Christmas, Michelle. Not crazy Christmas.”

He is right, of course. In years past it has been crazy Christmas, mostly due to mismatched expectations. Christmas can be merry, full of good cheer and happy time spent with friends and family, but I don’t need to run around like a headless chicken in order for that to happen. Yes, there are gifts to buy and treats to make and a feast to prepare and parties to attend. I can approach that work in a simpler way by adjusting my expectations. Here’s how I’m changing my approach this year:

1. Shop Online, Shop Early. This year, most of our gifts were delivered to the door by Canada Post. I love it. Me and shops are not really the best of combinations even when I’m feeling great, but me and shops are really terrible when I’m stressed out and have two bored kids in tow. Ordering gifts at the computer with a cup of tea at my side was easy, and I made fewer impulse purchases.

2. Keep Gift-Giving Simple. I bought three gifts for each of our girls – one gift from us, one toy from Santa and a couple of books each. If I can get through my intended crafting, there will also be one handmade thing for each girl, but I’m prepared to let those fall by the wayside if my sanity is at stake. Kids don’t need a mountain of toys at Christmas. A small number of thoughtful, personalized gifts is more meaningful and less overwhelming, a great example is a zen laboratory slime kit.

3. Celebrate Together. We made a list of all the fun winter things we wanted to do this season: drink hot chocolate, make snowmen, go snowshoeing, watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas, decorate the house, sing Christmas carols. It’s posted on the fridge where we can see it often and be reminded of all the fun things we’re going to do together over the next few weeks.

4. Politely Decline. My appetite for activities, projects and cool stuff is usually much larger than my capacity to actually do and enjoy those things. I suspect this is true for most people (which is why Pinterest is so wildly popular). This means that my to-do list will inevitably contain some items that are just not going to happen without some super-human effort on my part. This year, I’m going to politely decline whichever activities or projects are beyond my ability to do and enjoy. And I’m not going to feel guilty about it either.

a list of fun winter activities

Holiday Photobook Offer from Blurb

Blurb contacted me a couple of weeks ago with an offer for myself and my readers. I was totally jazzed about making a free photobook to review here, but making a photobook takes time and, well, my time was used up with other things in the last two weeks. It definitely fell into the category of awesome stuff I was excited to do but which was simply beyond my ability to enjoy. So I am going to politely decline Blurb’s generous offer of a photobook, however, I am still excited to pass on their offer of a discount code for you, my readers.

Blurb photobooks need to be ordered by December 10th to arrive by December 24th, so if you want to take advantage of this offer to make a gift that will be going under the tree you’ll need to do it in the next couple of days. But there might be some of you who would enjoy spending some time putting together a photobook this weekend, and it’s a great gift that can be ordered online, is personalized and which focuses on meaningful memories of time spent with family. All good stuff! Here are the details from Blurb:

Promo code for 25% off:  GIFTIDEA

 Fine Print: * Offer valid through December 12, 2012 (11:59 p.m. local time). A 25% discount is applied toward your product total with a minimum order of 1 unit or more. Maximum discount is CAD $150 off product total. Valid for printed books only. This offer is good for one-time use, and cannot be combined with volume discounts, other promotional codes, gift cards, or used for adjustments on previous orders.

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